Because of Apple’s well-established ecosystem of speaker docks and other accessories, when the iPhone 5’s new connector adaptor was priced at $30, people were surprised, especially since the new Magsafe adaptor was only $10. Peter from Double Helix Cables has found a reason why: there’s a new chip inside the Lightning connector, which he surmises is an authentication chip. Eric Limer at Gizmodo found a chip as well, but he can’t confirm that it’s an authentication system.
There are a few third-party manufacturers currently making cheaper 30-pin-to-Lightning adaptors, but the discovery of this new chip means you should hold off ordering until they’re confirmed to work. Peter from Double Helix Cables told Apple Insider that users will not be able to build their own Lightning cables without a “very precise dissection of a Apple-branded cable,” noting that the Lightning cables that his company sells are merely customized Apple cables. Eventually someone could figure out to spoof Apple’s chip, but that’s not a sure bet, so until then stick with Apple’s (overpriced) official offerings.
Photo courtesy of Apple Insider/Double Helix Cables.